News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron General

Hospice of the Western Reserve


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Education


Amid scandals, Ohio tries to dissuade cheating on high-stakes third-grade reading tests
Online testing could reduce cheating that has shown up among teachers and administrators with other tests
Story by MANDIE TRIMBLE


 
Online standardized testing could keep people from changing answers on paper tests.
Courtesy of Alberto GarcĂ­a
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Ohio third-graders are gearing up to take a reading test that could determine whether they are promoted or held back. In some states, high-stakes testing has driven educators to do the unthinkable: cheat. Safeguards are in place in Ohio to lessen the chance of a standardized testing scandal.

LISTEN: Protections against cheating by teachers, administrators

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:41)


High-stakes tests can be stressful for students. But they also can turn up the heat on teachers and administrators who have a lot riding on standardized tests: district report cards, school ratings, teacher evaluations, funding, even building closures.

While no Ohio district has been accused of cheating on standardized tests, state auditor Dave Yost found Columbus City Schools manipulated grade and attendance data to improve academic standing.

Some of the country’s largest districts went further.

Coaches and Erasers 
Atlanta and Philadelphia public schools are mired in cheating scandals. Atlanta district employees changed test answers. Philadelphia remains under investigation for cheating.

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Kimberly Graham says investigators discovered wrong test answers were erased and correct ones filled in. Some students were advised on which answers to mark.

“One teacher described to me a situation where students, who were kind of on the bubble, you know -- close to being able to pass but not quite there -- were given the test together in the library," Graham says, "And basically they sat at a table with a school administrator who coached them which answers they should fill in.”

But Ohio education officials say they have safeguards in place to prevent cheating on standardized tests. Jim Wright, who directs the department’s office of curriculum and assessment, says the state conducts erasure analyses on standardized tests to look for signs of cheating.

He adds test booklets are continuously accounted for.

“Who is to have access, a chain of custody, so to speak, of those materials and so forth, who can have access to, rules around who can administer, all of those things are in place through an administrative code,” Jim Wright says.

Taking tests online
Next year, the state plans to move some standardized tests from traditional paper and pencil, to online exams which could reduce opportunities to cheat.

“The online will change some of the issues because it’s no longer worrying about the chain of custody and the paper getting shipped and getting lost and so forth," Wright says. "But there’s a whole new set of issues around the computer-based testing. So right now we have rules in place that have been there for a long time. Over the next few years as we transition, there are going to be some changes that we’re going to have to learn from.”

But the Pressure's Still On
University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor James Wollack directs the institution’s testing and evaluation center.

“Individual educators have a lot on the line," Wollack says.

Wollack co-edited Handbook of Test Security which is used by districts across the country. He says online tests make it harder to cheat. And he adds companies that run computer-based exams have the infrastructure to look for irregular patterns.

“I certainly don’t want to use fear tactics as the only approach, but I think it’s perfectly reasonable to remind educators it’s increasingly hard to hide from this because the tools that are out there to detect it are getting better and better," Wollack says.

The scandals that erupted in Atlanta and Philadelphia have brought increased security and scrutiny on high-stakes tests.

High-stakes tests are here to stay. In Ohio, third-graders are preparing to take the state reading exam. Last fall, a third of them failed the test. Unless their scores improve, they risk being held back.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Stories with Recent Comments

ResponsibleOhio leader says the state is trying to set Issue 3 up for failure
Ohio suppose to believe that a group of investors were united under one cause to legalize marijuana.Once legal they all of sudden turn into 10 different compani...

Terry Pluto: U of A's new athletic director has the toughest job in town
It is a hard sell. The Students do not want to go to the football games and they do not want to pay for the program. They have a lot of student loan debt and t...

Akron considering the future of the B.F. Goodrich smokestacks
This BFGoodrich alumna says, "Thank you, Dave Lieberth!"

State creates panel to look at Ohio charter school sponsors
It is more than disturbing that charter schools, which seemed like a good idea years ago, have begun to cripple public school education.

DEVO mural in Akron is now on display downtown
The installation is not at the former site of Chili Dog Mac. CDM was one block north on the other side of Main St.

New report shows growth in white collar jobs for Northeast Ohio
Unfortunately, there are fewer jobs in comparison to the number of professionals applying for them. I have been had a full time job since June 2012. In order to...

Advocacy group: Ohio could lead in clean energy
Ohio Legislators, You are supposed to be our leaders but you're not taking us where we want to go - where we need to go!

Campaign for and against marijuana legalization begins
Cannabis legalization needs to happen as soon as possible! But not if it gives monopolies to a selected few to grow and sell the herb. Responsible Ohio's mono...

Heinen's in downtown Cleveland sponsors a contest for food entrepreneurs
Love that this took place right here! What a way to support local. Thank you Heinens! Love this quote, as a small local biz, I agree, it's big!! "To be a small...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University